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[bair-ing] /ˈbɛər ɪŋ/
the manner in which one conducts or carries oneself, including posture and gestures:
a man of dignified bearing.
the act, capability, or period of producing or bringing forth:
a tree past bearing.
something that is produced; a crop.
the act of enduring or capacity to endure.
reference or relation (usually followed by on):
It has some bearing on the problem.
  1. a supporting part of a structure.
  2. the area of contact between a bearing member, as a beam, and a pier, wall, or other underlying support.
Machinery. the support and guide for a rotating, oscillating, or sliding shaft, pivot, or wheel.
Often, bearings. direction or relative position:
The pilot radioed his bearings.
Surveying. a horizontal direction expressed in degrees east or west of a true or magnetic north or south direction.
Heraldry. any single device on an escutcheon; charge.
1200-50; Middle English beryng. See bear1, -ing1
Related forms
unbearing, adjective
1. carriage, mien, demeanor, behavior, conduct. See manner1 . 5. connection, dependency; application. 8. course, aim. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for bearings
  • When faced with such facts, one reaches for bearings, for ways to steady oneself.
  • The shaft had rusted, expanding in the process, and was tight in the nylon bushings that served as bearings.
  • His team's new design eliminates the need for anything rigid, such as bearings or gears.
  • The breakthrough idea was to grip the shaft from both sides, which made bearings redundant, he says.
  • The frame, wheels and cogs are birch, and the bearings are ironwood.
  • All this should give you pause long enough to take bearings.
  • When they entered the cave, they took a while to get their bearings.
  • For instance, capsules in the plating of ball bearings could be filled with mineral oils to make the bearings self-lubricating.
  • Anybody who thinks that the red carpet is the royal road to the unconscious has lost his bearings.
  • But e-zine readers wanted novelty as much as bearings.
British Dictionary definitions for bearings


a support, guide, or locating piece for a rotating or reciprocating mechanical part
foll by on or upon. relevance (to) it has no bearing on this problem
a person's general social conduct, esp in manners, dress, and behaviour
  1. the act, period, or capability of producing fruit or young
  2. an amount produced; yield
the part of a beam or lintel that rests on a support
anything that carries weight or acts as a support
the angular direction of a line, point, or course measured from true north or south (true bearing), magnetic north or south (magnetic bearing), or one's own position
(usually pl) the position or direction, as of a ship, fixed with reference to two or more known points
(usually pl) a sense of one's relative position or situation; orientation (esp in the phrases lose, get, or take one's bearings)
  1. a device or emblem on a heraldic shield; charge
  2. another name for coat of arms
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bearings
"carrying of oneself, deportment," mid-13c., from bear (v.). Mechanical sense of "part of a machine that bears the friction" is from 1791.
"parts of a machine which 'bear' the friction," 1791, from bear (v.). Meaning "direction from a point of reference" is from 1630s; to take (one's) bearings is from 1711.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with bearings
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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